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Published On: Thu, Jul 9th, 2020

Power Reforms: GENCOs, DISCOs have failed Nigerians, says Reps

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  • Reforms require legislative intervention – Gbajabiamila

By Christiana Ekpa

The House of Representatives Ad-hoc committee on Power yesterday said that Power Generating Companies (GENCOs) and Distribution Companies (DISCOs) have failed Nigerians by not meeting their obligations after taking over the defunct National Electric Power Authority (NEPA).
This was disclosed at the inaugural Investigative hearing by the Adhoc Committee on Power Sector Reform set up by the House on Wednesday.
The Chairman of the Adhoc Committee, House Majority Leader, Alhassan Ado Doguwa said the committee was inaugurated by the Speaker following a Resolution of House at Plenary, to investigate and review activities in the power sector.
“Since then, we have made efforts to carry out our mandate genuinely and painstakingly. We communicated with experts and relevant and relevant stakeholders, and today we are hosting this hearing.
“There is no gainsaying that the power sector is critical to our nation’s industrialisation and development. Interestingly, we are made to understand that the greatest issues bedeviling the sector after the unbundling of the defunct National Electric Power Authority is the inability to effectively transmit and distribute electricity supply across the country.
“The inability of some of these institutions to meet the covenant obligations they entered into at the time of privatization has reduced the capacity to enable reliable and quality electricity supply for both domestic and commercial use,” he said.
Doguwa said, the power sector is also confronted with liquidity and other issues, as Gas Suppliers are claiming billions of Naira being owed them while operators are saying that the tariffs are not cost reflective.
He added that, while Nigerians appreciate the efforts of institutions created from the unbundling exercise, particularly the GENCOs who now have the capacity to generate over 10, 000 megawatts, it is becoming clearer that the DISCOs and transmission companies must do more to improve electricity supply in the country.
“Sadly, it appears to the common man that there is a hike in electric tariff without corresponding increase in quantity and quality of electricity supply. This is indeed the crux of the matter under the mandate of this ad hoc committee,” he added.
The Adhoc committee chairman informed that, as part of Federal Government’s effort to improve the situation brought about by the inability of value chain players to meet their basic obligations, it invited the German government to help the poor state of power in Nigeria.
“This is the situation that crystallized in what is now called the Siemens Intervention deal. Incidentally, the above and many other concerns are the reasons we invited various stakeholders and well-meaning Nigerians to this Hearing,” he said.
On his part, the Speaker House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila disclosed that the protracted power sector problem leading to poor supply of electricity over the years is dampening the hope of Nigerians for industrialization and overall development.
“It is no longer news that despite huge investments in the power sector, little progress may have been made. It is becoming increasingly, worrisome that successive governments have been unable to fix the issue of power in our country; with the current state of electricity supply apparently dampening the hopes of landmark industrialization and national development,” he said.
“It is our belief that you shall be equipping the Committee with ample information on the status of the power sector, next lines of action and the inter-play between major players in the sector,” he added.
On his part, the Speaker House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila disclosed that the protracted power sector problem leading to poor supply of electricity over the years is dampening the hope of Nigerians for industrialization and overall development.
“It is no longer news that despite huge investments in the power sector, little progress may have been made. It is becoming increasingly, worrisome that successive governments have been unable to fix the issue of power in our country; with the current state of electricity supply apparently dampening the hopes of landmark industrialization and national development.
“This investigative hearing is the premise upon which the House of Representatives shall amass adequate information to guide us in causing the required and appropriate legislative intervention in the power sector.
“I am glad that the Ad Hoc Committee led by the Leader of the House of Representatives has not rested on its oars since its inauguration, culminating in today’s event. It is my utmost belief that they are up to speed in their plan of activities and may turn-in a report within the stipulated time frame.
“I therefore wish to appreciate members of the Ad Hoc Committee and make bold to claim that the membership selection has been vindicated by your performances thus far,” he said.
In a separate development, the Speaker of the House of Representatives Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila has emphasized that appropriate legislative intervention in the power sector is critical to national development.
Gbajabiamila made this statment at the opening ceremony of the public hearing of the House Ad-hoc Committee on Power Sector in the National Assembly.
According to him, it is in line with the Legislative Agenda of the 9th House that the House had to initiate and complete necessary legislative reforms to remove the regulatory and bureaucratic bottlenecks that continue to mitigate against optimum performance in the sector.
Gbajabiamila, who was represented by the Deputy Speaker, Rep. Idris Ahmed Wase, while declaring open the public hearing, said: “It is no longer news that despite huge investments in the power sector, little progress may have been made.
“It is becoming increasingly worrisome that successive governments have been unable to fix the issue of power in our country; with the current state of electricity supply dampening the hopes of landmark industrialization and national development.
“The last time some of you were here to witness the inauguration of this Ad Hoc Committee, we reminded you that at the onset of the 9th House of Representatives we proposed a legislative agenda that sought to initiate a comprehensive review of all legislation relating to the power sector. Today’s activity is an attempt to walk the walk.
“Our nation has long struggled with the problem of fixing the power sector in Nigeria and getting it to work in the optimal interest of all our people. We have not succeeded, despite the best efforts of many.
“The power sector is so integral to our national economic growth, to national security and even to social development, that we cannot ever stop trying to get it right. It is for this reason that the House of Representatives on the 12th of May, 2020 resolved to set up this ad Hoc Committee to undertake a holistic review of the power sector in Nigeria and to recommend legislative action to the House of Representatives,” he said.
In his remarks, the chairman of the ad-hoc Committee and House Leader, Alhassan Ado Doguwa, said the panel hit the ground running since being inaugurated, and that experts and relevant stakeholders in the sector have been interacted with before the public hearing.
He also gave a hint on what has been uncovered so far, saying, “There is no gainsaying the power sector to our nation’s industrialization and development.
“Interestingly, we are made to understand that the greatest issue bedevilling the sector after the unbundling of the defunct National Electric Power Authority is the inability to effectively transmit and distribute electricity supply across the country.
“The sector is also confronted with the issue of liquidity; with the Gas Suppliers claiming billions of Naira being owed them. Another major challenge is the fact that tariffs are not cost-reflectivecost-reflective.
“While we appreciate the efforts of institutions created from the unbundling exercise, particularly the GENCOs who now have the capacity to generate over 10, 000 megawatts, it is in fact, becoming clearer from a layman’s perspective that the DISCOs and transmission agents must do more if we anticipate any form of improved electricity supply in the country.
“The inability of some of these institutions to meet the covenant obligations they entered into at the time of privatization has reduced the capacity to enable reliable and quality electricity supply for both domestic and commercial use.”

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